Wholesale prices surge 1.3% in January, led by energy spike

WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale prices surged 1.3% in January, pushed higher by a big jump in energy costs.

The bigger-than-expected increase in the producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, was the largest one-month gain on records that go back to 2009, according to the Labor Department today. It followed much milder inflation readings of 0.3% in December and 0.1% in November.

The big jump, which reflected higher costs for energy and services, left wholesale prices rising during the past 12 months by 1.7%, the largest 12-month increase in a year. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food, rose 1.2% in January, and 2% over the past 12 months.